American Documentary is a nonprofit behind the PBS series POV, which is public television’s showcase for nonfiction films. The adapted fund of over $100,000 will provide rapid response grants up to $500 to assist artists with basic needs including food, immediate health needs and insurance premiums.
“Last year when we ran the pilot, the need for a fund of this kind was already substantial. During this pandemic, the need is critical,” said Justine Nagan, executive producer/executive director of POV/ American Documentary. “We are just beginning to see how COVID-19 is affecting filmmakers, especially those from marginalized communities. Canceled premieres, halted production and broader systemic issues are profoundly affecting filmmakers from healthcare to housing security. This adapted COVID AEF is designed for quick turnaround grants to support filmmakers and their families’ physical health.”
Asad Muhammad, Vice President of impact and engagement strategy, will oversee the fund through the POV Engage department. “In the face of COVID-19, we are seeing artists, especially artists-of-color at the forefront of innovative interventions and leading vital community responses to bring about mutual aid groups, joy and a sense of togetherness as we center ourselves inside our homes,” he said. “The hope is that these small grants can provide documentary filmmakers with some immediate support in sustaining their groceries, doctor visits and health insurance during this intense, confusing time.”
The Artist Emergency Fund is made possible with support from Open Society Foundations, Shizuka Asakawa, the Chicago Media Project, Genuine Article Pictures and a number of other generous individuals. These one-time grants are a response to concerns about sustainability in the documentary field. In its pilot year, the fund distributed over $20,000 and directly supported 25 artists.
Applications are now open click here for more information on the Artist Emergency Fund.